As my first post on this ‘ere new website of mine, I thought a bit about what I would write. Sure, I have plenty of ideas for posts; but what should my first one be. I finally decided I would talk about the reinspiration and the rebirth of the Bellydance Life that has consumed me twice now.
When I started bellydance, as happens with a great number of the people engaged in this artform, I was consumed. My earliest memory is, actually, of a bellydancer. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my young life and she is something I will never forget. Flowing black hair, a black and green costume and a beautiful smile she was forever imprinted on that little girls memory. When I started bellydancing at the age of twelve, I didn’t have a teacher, or a regular class or other little girls to be giddy with over our new hip scarves like I had when I started ballet (only then it was leotards!). I had a VHS tape of Veena and Neena and the whole of my living room. I loved it. I practiced all the time. I got more tapes, I practiced more. I would be a dancer. But I was alone. I think this drove me to practice and learn more. I researched and got books and dvd’s and read everything I could find on the Internet. The Bellydance Superstars were formed and Youtube became a website and then all of a sudden I could sit and watch these amazing dancers from all over the world.
For a good nine years bellydance consumed me. I danced at every free waking moment. While cooking, in three hour long practice intervals, I performed, I taught, I loved it. Then, even though I still loved it, my dedication to practice wavered. Acting took precendence as I worked towards my B.A. and I had less and less time to devote to my study of Bellydance. I had a short burst of time again where I was teaching seven private lessons a week and making choreography and plans. But graduation hit and I got a real job. I had a fiancee and a house to look after, as well as a move to a new town and was trying to figure out where my life was going to go. I knew I loved dance and I still danced, but not with the fervor of before. I was working full time in a hospital and felt my dreams of being a dancer slipping away and being replaced with the idea of a “normal” job as a nurse.
I drifted on like this, dancing became more of a fantasy than a reality and I felt it slipping away, no matter how much I wanted to hold on. Then the beginning of 2013 happened. And I turned 24. And I realised I wasn’t happy without truly being a bellydancer. And I realised I could pursue my new found calling of being a nurse and still be a dancer. After all nurses schedules can be as flexible as you want I’ve discovered and a lot of dancers out there have “regular” jobs. So I determined 2013 was going to be my *warning crude language* “Shit or Get Off the Pot Year”. That’s a lovely colloquial phrase I heard several times in my youth and I thought it fit my goals for the year perfectly. I was tired of sitting around waiting for something to fall in my lap, I had to MAKE it fall in my lap.
It’s been a lot of planning and still took several months to full get started, but here I am. I think dance all the time. I am in the process of finding a new studio to teach in again. I began taking online classes with Datura Online. Just that has completely revolutionized my practice and my dedication. I cannot say enough good things about it. I have a crazy schedule of events lined up for the next few months to get as much training and fun I can. It starts in two days with a workshop with Egyptian Bellydance Master Randa Kamel.
I have a strict policy with my (absolutely wonderful) fiancee that if I’m practicing or rehearsing she cannot come into my studio area without permission. I missed the freedom to just let go and make mistakes and weird looking moves and bad choreography before I figured it out. I felt I didn’t have it because I wanted her to only see me at my best. So now I just make her stay in front of American Dad or Family Guy while I get my dance on. It’s a win-win for both. And I’m starting to find other dancers to talk to in the area and do things with. It’s a tiny community around here, but I think there is a lot of room for growth.
The Bellydance Life will consume you if you catch the bug. The trick is learning to let it and keep it going without running out of steam. My steam is back and in full force. And I couldn’t be happier about it.